It can be pretty difficult to be innovative in designing a sound bar. The main reason as to why an average consumer would be interested in a sound bar is because the person wants a solution that is a little bit more powerful than the TV’s built-in speakers. Others may find a traditional surround sound system to be too difficult to set up or may not be feasible for a small living room. All that needs to be done really is to come up with a sound bar that boasts good sound quality for the price and having good design, extra features and easy setup count as bonus points. The Onkyo LS-T10 is a rather ambitious sound system because it really strives for those extra features while hoping to improve the sound quality significantly at the same time.
When it comes to size and dimensions, the LS-T10 has the build of a media player rather than a standard sound bar. It is also thicker than your average sound bar because of the four 7cm drivers that are just behind the front panel. Other than the small Onkyo logo, you won’t find any screen or fancy finishes on the front of this sound bar, save for the small status indicator which shows the power and mute status. The curved sides of the sound bar have nice touches though and it gives the Onkyo LS-T10 a more attractive appearance. The LS-T10 is also not as wide as the average sound bar but don’t let the 700mm width fool you because this sound bar is packed with power and should be a suitable companion for fairly large TVs. This is because there is also an additional 7cm driver on the left and right side of the sound bar. Lift the sound bar up and look underneath to notice the built-in 12cm subwoofer. This subwoofer is one of the main elements that separate the Onkyo LS-T10 from the pricier Onkyo sound bar models as well as many other competing sound bars.
All of this integrated power comes with a cost that is in the form of weight. Weighing close to 20 pounds, the LS-T10 isn’t the kind of sound bar that you can mount on the wall. Rather than coming with the usual wall mounting template and screws, all you get for mounting is 8 cushions to help prevent vibrations. The unit is meant to be placed in front of your TV or directly underneath your TV as long as the TV weighs less than 77 pounds and doesn’t risk toppling when placed.
Once successfully mounted, you should still have access to the small array of controls on the top of the sound bar as well as the connection ports on the back. The four buttons include the power button, volume controls and sound mode toggle control. In addition, you can see what sound mode the sound bar is currently in as well as the active input source. The rear of the Onkyo LS-T10 gives you access to the coaxial, analog and optical jacks along with a lone USB port. Both a 3.5 mm stereo mini plug cable and optical digital audio cable are included so the setup process is pretty simple especially since you don’t need to setup an external subwoofer.
A remote control is included as well and it is as basic as you would expect for a sound bar. There are more controls though and you can make use of them if you wish to change the subwoofer level or operate the USB media playback controls.
The LS-T10 is primarily a sound bar for your TV but the added Bluetooth support is a great feature if you have several mobile devices and other portable computers that have stored music. If you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you may not even need music files because there are a number of impressive audio streaming and online radio apps like Spotify, Pandora and SoundCloud which all allow Bluetooth connectivity. All you need to do is switch the Onkyo LS-T10 to Bluetooth mode and complete the pairing process. After that, you can play any song and hear it on the sound bar as if the device is beaming the music content there.
You also have the option of going the traditional USB route if you store your MP3s on a flash drive. This approach is quite limited though since you must put all the MP3 files in the root directory. No other file types can be read either and the NTFS file system isn’t supported.
The LS-T10 is a very good overall performer thanks to the size of the drivers as well as the way these drivers are placed. When placed in front of the TV, the sound pretty much blasts out in all frontal directions. To make things even better, Dolby Digital is supported so the newest Blu-ray movies sound really good and the stereo separation is noticeable.
The Onkyo LS-T10 also uses the AuraSphere 3D Digital Signal Processing which makes the sweet spot wider to expand the 3D sound field. Combined with Panoramic 3D sound, you can expect a huge leap in audio fidelity compared to normal TV speakers even when you crank up the volume.
Don’t forget about the integrated down-firing subwoofer too because it really helps in the bass generation. The remote control allows you to control the subwoofer separately so you can find the most ideal setting for the content you are playing.
The easiest way to find the optimal settings is to change the AuraSphere sound profile to a matching setting. There is a “Movie” setting to widen the soundstage even further and it has good results for both movies and video games. There is also “Music” which works well for audio tracks and “News” which enhances the dialog quality.
The LS-T10 is one of the best all-in-one sound bar packages available. Separate 5.1-channel systems will still bring out better audio and don’t cost as much but setting everything up can be tedious. The Onkyo LS-T10 can be set up in just a couple of steps and you can get very good results after a bit of tinkering with the settings. The $399 price tag makes this sound bar pricier than the average decent sound bar but the LS-T10 has enough innovation to justify the cost.
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